Good morning! And how is everyone on this last day of March? I've just experienced one of the busiest months of my life and I'm hoping April brings a much-needed sense of calm! Before I get started on today's post, I want to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my last post. Comments are dwindling all across blogland--even my sons noticed that the comments on my last post were way down. So, I'm thankful for those who still take a minute or two to say "hello" when I post--that means so very much to me... And a warm welcome to my new followers--so glad you are here!
With my crazy-busy March, I had little time to stitch, but did manage a few spring finishes. I think the chick in this Lizzie Kate design (A Chicky Easter) is particularly adorable. Would you believe that with all of the spring/Easter smalls I have stitched, this is the only one with the word "Easter" on it? I changed the border colors from blues to pink and green (on 40 ct. white Newcastle) and used my own selection of overdyeds. Pale pink beads were added to the stitched flower centers, too. (The colors are softer than appear in this photo--more like the photo shown below in the finished pillow).
|The cutest chick around!|
I'm so pleased with how the final finish turned out. I made a little pillow with a pink striped fabric, a yellow print fabric, and handmade yellow cording. I then embellished it with a pale pink button topped with a pink gingham ribbon. So bright and cheery! Do you notice the little bunny dish sitting behind it? That is filled with some yummy Sees chocolates that my husband brought home from his skiing trip in Utah earlier this month. You know what else he brought home? A torn ACL in his knee... Sigh... A bad fall ended his trip early and he may be facing surgery down the road. Luckily, with an ACL injury like this, he can still bike, but skiing ever again is definitely out unless he has surgery.
|Finished Lizzie Kate "A Chicky Easter"|
Here is my newest pillow nestled in an Easter basket with several other spring pillows. I really love the colors in each of these tiny creations. Spring stitching makes me happy (well, stitching in any season makes me happy to be honest!) Do you have a favorite season to stitch?
|Bunnies, chicks, and eggs galore!|
My second spring finish is this Shepherd's Bush design called "Joyful Spring" from the Spring Folio chart. I used 40ct. white Newcastle and a variety of spring colors for the flowers, eggs, and tiny chick. I love how the kite string is made from ribbon. This was sent to my French friend, Nathalie (no blog), for her birthday. I simply inserted it into a card opening and mailed it along with a chart and some spring ribbons. With the rising cost of international postage, I'm trying to be creative and save money, too! Nathalie loved it and said she has the card sitting on her desk...
|Shepherd's Bush "Joyful Spring" finish|
My final Spring finish was made for my boss for her retirement party on March 19th. You will all recognize this as Prairie Schooler's "S Is For Spring" which I have stitched many times before. I chose it for her, not only because it is currently spring, but also because she is beginning a new chapter of her life--a "new spring" so to speak. I forgot to take a photo of it before I gave it to her so I'm simply using the one I took of my own finish back in 2014 as I finished hers exactly the same. My old boss stitches a bit and was so appreciative of my gift.
|Prairie Schooler "S Is For Spring"|
A darling surprise arrived in the mail last week, too... Just look what hopped over from Germany! This little cutie was sent by my friend Gabi (no blog) for Easter along with a pretty card. Isn't it sweet? Thanks so very much, Gabi--I will think of you each time I decorate for Easter!
|Easter gift from sweet Gabi in Germany|
Retirement Party Memories... Many of you have asked how the retirement party for my dear boss went that was held at my home... Well, I'm pleased to say it went very well--a little too well, perhaps! You see, now my coworkers are suggesting that I be in charge of future parties as well... And believe me, we have quite a few retiring in this coming decade (including me!). No, I think one is enough for me. I enjoyed the creativity of it, but the preparation was a ton of work and the evening went by so quickly. Anyway, I thought I would share a few of the things I did to help any of you if you ever have to host a retirement party...
First of all, I made a gift card bouquet for her. My coworkers and I all pitched in and purchased a variety of gift cards for my boss based on her various interests including reading (of course!), knitting, pets, tea, movies, etc. I simply printed the flowers off on heavy scrapbooking paper and added centers with cute sayings and graphics. Then I glued on a skewer to each one and attached the gift card to the back with double faced tape.
|Each flower held a different gift card|
Sam's Club had the most spectacular, giant blue hydrangeas for sale so I purchased one of them, inserted the "flower" skewers and voilà--there you have a personalized, useful, and much appreciated gift. My boss loved it and I know she'll have fun purchasing little gifts for herself for quite some time.
|The finished gift card bouquet|
My boss requested, multiple times, that she wanted her party to be kept simple. She doesn't like fuss and so I tried my best to make things fun, but classy. I found a simple reusable banner (you can just slide the cardboard letters off and on to make different sayings) at Target, hung it from my mantle, and placed photos of each member of our department at the library across the top. (Their faces are blurred for privacy making it look like I work with a bunch of aliens!! I can assure you, they are all wonderful, attractive coworkers--I couldn't ask for a better bunch!). In the middle was a framed print with the words "A truly great boss is hard to find, difficult to let go, and impossible to forget." How very true... At the end of the evening, the staff photos were sent home with my boss.
A few years ago, my youngest son gave me some magnetic Scrabble tiles for our refrigerator so it has become a family tradition to use them on special occasions. The retirement party was certainly that! So, I created a bit of "refrigerator art" for her using the Scrabble tiles and cute graphics that I printed off the internet. Some of my favorites are "Librarian: The Original Search Engine" and "Librarians Dewey It Better!" It was a big hit and a great conversation piece...
|Refrigerator art: librarian style!|
Here are some close-ups for you. You'll notice the tiny clothes pins holding up the signs... Well, those were purchased at Target and I simply added tiny pieces of peel-off magnet strips to the back so they would stick on the refrigerator. Such a simple, but cheery touch...
And here is the bottom portion containing my all time favorite graphic (in the lower left) which says "Yes, we have that book with the green cover by that famous guy--It's over in the book section!" Believe it or not, we get so many patrons coming in to the library with these vague requests for things like "that tiny blue book by a woman." Ummm, yeah...
My husband received some personalized M&Ms for his 60th birthday last summer so I decided to splurge and buy some for my boss' retirement party. You can choose your own colors, request short sayings on them and even add a photo of the honoree right here! Too cute and another big hit at the party.
|Personalized M&Ms were such fun!|
The food was fabulous! Each coworker brought a dish to pass (something easy to eat as we didn't have a sit-down dinner planned). I made my fruit kebabs (like I showed you in this post), a very tasty light taco dip (recipe can be found here), and chocolate chip cookies. Others brought crabmeat dips, seafood baked in real shells, Swedish meatballs, pork barbecue sliders, veggie trays, olive roll-ups, desserts. Oh, my--a real feast! I wish I had taken a photo of the food before we had devoured most of it, but I did manage to snap a photo (this was only about a third of the dishes!) right at the end before we indulged in the desserts at the end of the table.
|The food was so tasty as you can see by the little that remained!|
To add interest to the buffet table I made up little signs like these, framed them, and interspersed them among the food. I found them by googling "retirement party ideas."
And this was my favorite... A miniature poster of an old movie called "Ladies In Retirement!" Don't you love it? At the party, I covered over the name of "Evelyn Keyes" with my boss's name--she loved it!
Having a party means lots of flowers, of course, and between Easter and the retirement party, my house is beginning to look like a floral shop! I took this photo yesterday morning as the sunlight was streaming in the kitchen window. The red Gerbera Daisies were from my oldest son and his girlfriend for Easter and my middle son brought me the most fragrant blue hydrangea I have ever smelled--wonderful! The pretty shamrock plant in the front came from a coworker to thank me for hosting (along with many, many bottles of wine from other coworkers!).
|I could start my own floral shop!|
And did you notice that gorgeous orchid on the right? Well, that was given to me when my dad passed away in late 2014 and it has just re-bloomed! What a special gift... I had no hope that I would be able to grow an orchid, but apparently, I'm doing something right. Here is a close-up of the orchid by itself. I think of my dad each time I walk by it...
|Blooming once again...|
With the arrival of spring (and a most beautiful warm, sunny spring, I might add!), we are seeing more and more wildlife in our yard. The dreaded geese have returned attempting to nest by our pond. We try to chase them off whenever we see them because they make such a terrible mess of our yard. Yes, they are beautiful, but we'll be happier if they choose somewhere else to nest. We haven't seen them in almost a week, so we think they have found a "more welcoming" yard!
|Pretty, but, oh, so messy!|
And the deer seem to be coming around more and more often. I saw this herd of seven (the 7th is barely visible to the left of the red part of the birdhouse pole) grazing near our pond a few weeks ago. Again, very pretty animals, but they are so destructive to our plantings. We can't plant any flowers out in the open any longer. They end up as deer food time after time. I'm so envious of those of you who can have lovely gardens!
|The deer are taking over!|
Even daffodils aren't safe--we watched as a deer chomped off one after another while we ate dinner last week. Just look at this photo--I swear he is sticking his tongue out at me!! They are very brazen and seem to think we've planted all of the greenery just for them! That is why anything we truly value has to be planted in the fenced-in raised beds you see behind the deer in the photo below.
|"Ha ha ha--you can't stop me!"|
Well, I had hoped to share my Uruguay travel photos with you, but have simply run out of time. I'll plan that for next month, okay? I wish each of you a delightful April with many happy stitching moments. Bye for now...